Relocation: Matters Considered by Courts when Making Orders

How does a Court decide Relocation Cases? 

Courts assess whether or not a parent should be able to either relocate with a child, or be ordered to return to their former location of residence (if they have already moved) on a case by case basis, according to the facts of each case.

A relocating parent must present good reasons to the court as to why the relocation will be in the ‘best interests of the child’ and what arrangements they propose for the other parent to have regular and meaningful time with the child.

The Court must keep the ‘best interests of the child’ as the primary consideration. In determining the best interests of the child, the Court must consider:

  • The benefit to the child of having a meaningful relationship with both of the child’s parents; and
  • The need to protect the child from physical or psychological harm from being subjected to, or exposed to, abuse, neglect or family violence.

Additional considerations for the Court include:

 



 

  • The child’s views
  • The nature of the relationship of the child with the parents, and other persons such as grandparents
  • The willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a relationship between the child and other parent
  • The likely effect of any changes in the child’s circumstances
  • Maturity, sex, lifestyle and background of the parents and the child
  • Any incidences of family violence

The proposed (or actual) distance of the relocation is also a major factor for the Court’s consideration.

The further away a parent moves, the harder it will be for the relocating parent to show that it is in the child’s best interests to move that distance away from the other parent, as the contact with them is likely to be much less frequent.

The Court will balance the above considerations, together with anything else they think is relevant, against the right of freedom of movement of the relocating parent, bearing in mind that the final decision must be what is in the ‘best interests of the child’.

 

Relocation – More Information

The sorts of things a Court wants to know, this issues and what a considers if they are deciding a case involving a parent who either has already moved away or who wants to move away, is explained in the information sheet How does a court decide Relocation cases if a parent moves away or wants to move away.

If you already have a Court Order or are getting a Court Order then you should also read our information sheet Court Orders & Relocation explained in full.

Our information sheet The other parent might Relocate: Do I need to do anything might also be helpful to you.

Relocation, Domestic & International Child Abduction: More Information

We also have the following pages providing additional information in relation to both Relocation of a Parent with a Child within Australia (domestically) and International Child Abduction:

 

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